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A Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Startup Company in the Philippines

Posted on October 28, 2016 by Franco Alvarez

A Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Startup Company in the Philippines

The Philippine startup industry is booming and being nurtured. By 2020, the country aims for 500 startups valued at $2 billion. To help achieve this, the Investment and Capital Corporation of the Philippines (ICCP) is making funds available for early-stage startups.

In addition, the Ayala Foundation and the University of the Philippines both extended assistance from startup launching to management training, and office space searching. Many tech startups have been acquired by telcos like Philippine Long-Distance Telephone Company’s Chikka Holdings Limited and Level Up!

So, how to be part of the growing startup ecosystem in the Philippines? Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you launch your startup company in the country—from business registration to setting up your first office space.

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How to Register Your Startup Business Name

The Philippine business licensing environment has become competitive. You can already register your Sole Proprietorship business name. Thanks to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Present your valid government-issued identification, accomplish the registration form, and pay the appropriate fees.

The fee for getting a business name will depend on how unique it is. If your target business is confined within a small area of your municipality, you’ll only need to pay PHP500.

Otherwise, you may choose to spend PHP1000 to give your business a more unique name, at least within several regions away. Then again, you could avoid some tacky spoofing of your startup name within the entire country by paying PHP2000. Forecasting is part of the business plan, after all.

A Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Startup Company in the Philippines

How to Secure Business Permits

Getting business permits within a few hours is now possible because of improved customer service in municipal offices. You can see municipal employees attending to your application by going from one department to the next, while you wait for a few hours only.

Business permits in the Philippines are mainly concerned with garbage disposal and environmental law compliance. To obtain a license to operate, you must secure a barangay clearance and Mayor’s Permit where you wish to set up shop.

A Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Startup Company in the Philippines

How to Make Employees Happy with Government-Mandated Benefits

Happy employees stay longer with a company, and a huge chunk of the reasons of their stay are compensation packages and benefits.

According to the Philippine Labor Code, employees are entitled to six benefits namely:

  • Social Security Systems (SSS) contribution
  • Health insurance contribution to PhilHealth
  • Home Development Mutual Fund or the Pag-ibig Fund
  • 13th month pay
  • Service incentive leave
  • Meal and rest periodsA Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Startup Company in the Philippines

Social Security System (SSS)

The SSS can cover sickness, disability, maternity, old, mortality, or related instances leading to loss of the ability to earn money. Contributions are based on the employee’s monthly salary. About 30% is from employee’s salary, while 70% is from the employer.

New hires must register with the SSS where your startup is operating. The SSS Form R1A needs to be accomplished by the employer. It contains the list of all the new employees to be registered to the SSS.

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)

PhilHealth reinforces a mandatory medical insurance for all local employees. Members can choose to register their dependents too. Contributions are computed based on the employee’s monthly salary, which the employer equivalently matches as well.

Employees must accomplish the PhilHealth PMRF form with each new employment. Employers will submit to PhilHealth a list of all their new hires with the ER2 form.

Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-ibig)

Also known as the Pag-ibig Housing Development Program, it ensures low-cost payments for its members and safe housing for all Filipinos. Loans are payable up to 30 years from their monthly wages.

All new employees can be registered as members at the Pag-ibig website. Employees need to be a SSS member to register with Pag-ibig .

13th month pay

All private sector employers are required to give their workers a 13th month pay as pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines. This amounts to one-twelfth (1/12) of the employee’s basic salary within a calendar year given on or before the 24th of December.

The 13th month pay applies to all employees regardless of the nature of their employment, provided that they have worked for at least a month during the calendar year.

Service incentive leave

Service incentive leaves allow employees to go on a 5-day paid leave, given that they have rendered service for at least a year, whether continuous or broken, reckoned from the employee’s first day at work, along with authorized absences and paid regular holidays.

Meal and rest periods

All employees are granted not less than sixty minutes time-off daily for their regular meals, and not less than twenty four consecutive hours of rest period after every six consecutive normal work days.


Where to Find Talents

Ideas aren’t easy to come by. More so, finding excellent people you can work with. Fortunately, there are numerous avenues for finding talents for your company as listed below:

A Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Startup Company in the Philippines

Job Search Sites

Job search sites like Kalibrr and Jobstreet are major sources for talent search since job hunters scourge the internet for work opportunities. Thus, these sites receive many applications that are usually comprised of a candidate’s resume, profile, and portfolio.

Job Fairs

Another time-tested method is joining organized job fairs in various universities and malls. Job fairs are usually conducted before summer, which also coincides with the graduation season.

Universities encourage their graduating students to join such fairs so they could land a job soon after they leave their alma mater, which lends to improve the prestige of the college or university as well. Job fairs in malls are equally popular among job hunters because of the convenience that comes with it.

Attend Social Networking Events

Attending social networking events is a fun yet productive way to meet people who can be potentially part of your team. Here, you’ll likely encounter an interesting mix of young professionals and more experienced candidates who are both actively looking for new career paths in line with their passion or interest.

Some seasonal networking events include bridal fairs, summer camps, holiday bazaars, food expo, and several others—all of which can open doors for you to connect with the right people up close and personal.

Hire a Recruitment Agency

Headhunters like Manila Recruitment have a large pool of candidates whether you’re looking for someone to fill your marketing, accounting, HR, sales, or IT department. The selection method that recruitment agencies employ guarantees that the chosen candidates have both the competence and attitude that will fit into your company, as applicants need to pass through several stages of screening and interview before they are formally endorsed to you.


How to Find Your First Office Space

A Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Startup Company in the Philippines

Top Considerations When Looking for an Office Space


When looking for an office space, you need to be practical in terms of how much leasing the property will cost you. You want to make sure that it will not cause a major dent on your company’s financial resources but instead, complement your budget plan.


Determine the amount of space you need. If you’re worried that a small office might affect the productivity of your staff, think of space-saving ideas like having minimalist furniture items or altering the floor layout.

Clients’ Needs

Determine the demographics of your clients. If they are spread out in different cities, be sure to find a space where you could be accessible to all of them midway. Consider other important details like availability of parking space in the building for clients or customers and the level of security.

Team Expansion

Ramping up personnel needs a larger office space. If you’re planning to grow your team soon, get an area that can accommodate your expansion.

Options for Office Space

Home Business

Converting your home into an office space saves you from spending on rent and utilities.

Be sure to have ample space in your home for office space conversion. When applying for a business permit, stipulate your intention to use a part of your house as an office.

Office Space Rental

If you are expecting long-term returns, you might be better off buying a property. You may choose an old home and have it renovated or converted into an office space. Alternatively, you could rent out a portion of the area, so that you will have your own property and earn income from it as well.

Virtual Space

A virtual office is one that you rent with a virtual office provider. It has the same setup as a regular office, except that it’s not for your exclusive use. Other businesses may be renting a space where your virtual office is.

Virtual offices are ideal for startups or expanding businesses avoiding all the complexities of establishing or getting a traditional office environment.

Coworking Space

A coworking space is an ideal setup for startups in terms of cost efficiency and being able to use regular office facilities such as internet connection, conference rooms, and eating areas, among others.

In this setup, there’s also an opportunity to meet with other businesses whom you share the coworking space with, who might even be valuable to your network, operations, or sales.


Why Launch Your Startup in Makati

A Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Startup Company in the Philippines

Makati is a progressive commercial and business district

Makati commerce and businesses are most progressive, ranking 3rd in terms of competitiveness and 1st in terms of per capita income at 16,535. It can be likened to Singapore City or any other bustling city with skyscrapers in the USA or anywhere in the world.

The city earned Php12.79 billion in 2014. It has 62,000 retail establishments, 48 malls, 274 Business Process Outsourcing companies, 9 embassies, 472 main branch bank offices, and is home to 40% of the top companies whether here or abroad.

Makati is technology ready

Makati is a tech-hub pioneer for its ICT-ready buildings that allow startups to hit the ground running when it comes to starting operations.

Having a predominantly young workforce with a high level of education—especially when it comes to IT—can give you all kinds of human resources you need, with excellent work ethics and thirsty for growth and adventure.

Makati has a dynamic arts and culture scene

Makati is home to both local and foreign museums, art galleries, and theaters. The city embraces diversity and respects all people of different beliefs, gender preferences, and nationalities.

Makati offers a holistic lifestyle

In Makati, you can work hard and relax at the end of the day. You can choose from shopping, dining, and entertainment activities—all in one place.

Makati nightlife is amazing.

Cuisines and beverages from all over the world are offered in numerous restaurants, cafes, pubs, or sports bars.


With this comprehensive guide to launching your startup company in the Philippines, you’re well on your way to having a Makati office space that would offer you greater reach within the ever-expanding Asia-Pacific market, financial legroom, and yet, retain access to enough comfort and recreation for your employees, as well as customers. Talk about business and pleasure combined.

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Franco Alvarez

Franco has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. Even at a very young age, he would constantly find an opportunity to make a little cash on the side. May it be selling women’s bracelets made out of safety pins and cheap stones or writing research papers for his rich classmates who didn’t want to study, he took advantage of each chance he got. Now, as a father of three and a full-time entrepreneur, he believes that there is always an opportunity to be of service to your fellow businessman. All you need to have is the right intention, and the proper skill set to be of help to others. In his downtime, he and his wife find new things to distract their kids with.